Indiana governor showcases economical growth, workforce expansion in State of the State Address
INDIANAPOLIS (WAVE) - Gov. Eric Holcomb delivered his 2022 State of the State address in front of a joint session of the Indiana General Assembly on Tuesday evening, celebrating economical growth and expanding the state’s infrastructure.
Holcomb said at the end of the 2021 state fiscal year, Indiana had $3.9 billion in reserves. Indiana will be using those funds to put $1.1 billion towards Indiana’s teachers’ pension fund and $545 million as an automatic taxpayer refund.
“When it comes to our strong economy, we’ve earned it,” Holcomb said. “Sound fiscal management over time has become our state’s reputation.”
The governor also addressed job numbers in the state, with 73,000 more Hoosiers working as of now compared to before the pandemic hit in March 2020.
Indiana’s population has also grown by 300,000 since 2010, which Holcomb said eclipses the growth of other neighboring states.
However, Holcomb said one of the issues being faced in Indiana is jobs that have yet to be filled. As of January, there are more than 150,000 job openings posted.
Holcomb said the state is working on investments to help fill job openings, including increased teacher base salaries and investing $1.9 billion in K-12 education over the next two years.
“The state’s goal for new teacher salaries is $40,000 by July 1,” Holcomb said. “Some 80 percent of schools will have achieved that goal.”
Workforce Ready and Employer Training Grant programs are also bringing more Indiana residents into higher-paying jobs and achieving a post-secondary education, Holcomb said.
Indiana is also working towards addressing health concerns within the state. The governor said Indiana ranks 46th in obesity, 46th in smoking, and 40th in childhood immunization compared to other states in the U.S.
Working with the Indiana Public Health Commission, a report will be submitted over the summer for the 2023 budget session to strengthen the state’s public health system.
Several focuses include the support of mental health services, including expanded access, a federal suicide hotline, and investing more to reduce stigma of mental health challenges.
Holcomb also provided an update on COVID-19 as more cases continue to rise in Indiana and across the U.S.
More than 19,000 Indiana residents have died due to the COVID pandemic, and hospitals are currently working to divert patients as the number of ICU beds in use is at an all-time high.
Holcomb encouraged residents who have yet to get vaccinated to do so in order to lessen the strain of hospitalized cases.
“If you haven’t been vaccinated, I encourage, I plead, I even beg you to speak to your doctor and do so,” Holcomb said. “I say this, even if you’ve disagreed with every position I’ve taken. I just want us both to be around to continue to have those disagreements.”
So far, more than 3.5 million Indiana residents have at least received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.
Watch the full address below:
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